Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including talent sceptics, a rubik’s mistake, and more.
Here we go…
#1 – The talent sceptics
There are a lot of people out there who still really believe wholeheartedly in the “talent myth”.
I noticed this the other day when a few people left comments on a Facebook post of mine.
People were saying things such as:
“You have to have some talent” or “I beg to differ; I know lots of deaf ear people. Talent is given by God”.
Thankfully, many others chimed in, shooting comments like these down.
The thing is, talent is one of those weird things.
I mean, it does exist to some degree.
For instance, in sports, where people are naturally lightning fast, have the physique to be elite bodybuilders, or have the perfect hand-eye coordination to be a grand slam tennis champ.
In reality, though, I see talent as something very overrated.
It only really comes into play if you want to be say in the top 100 in your field.
For us, do we want to be in the top 100 guitarists in the world?
For me, not really, because to be in the top 100 requires incredible amounts of dedication and sacrifice, regardless of talent.
I want to be the best I can be but also enjoy each moment of playing and practising.
Have you ever noticed how the best of the best are all crazy obsessed with what they do?
For us, we should all aim to be the best we can be on guitar, but fun is the name of the game.
…And regardless of talent, we can always, always improve things such as our…
Rhythm, coordination, dexterity, aural skills, how we spend our practice time, technique, and all the other little things that add up.
Every single one of these things can be improved regardless of “talent”.
#2 – Rubik’s mistake!
I took Archie to a playdate at his friend’s house the other day.
And his friend’s older sister pulled out a Rubik’s cube.
I tried it but failed.
About a year ago, I learnt how to complete the Rubik’s cube from memory and was able to do it in a few minutes.
A year later, do you think I could still remember the steps?
Nope, I could remember about ¼ of the steps on how to complete it.
That was annoying, but guess what…
Many of us do this sort of thing with the guitar too.
For instance, you may learn a song and…
Spend months methodically piecing it together, passionately playing it, and then over time, not practise it as much…
One day, a year or two later, something may remind you of this song.
You go to play it but find you just can’t remember much of it.
Damn, it’s so frustrating.
I felt that same frustration with the Rubik’s cube.
Now, I have to learn how to do it again.
This is the reason why I encourage everyone to make a note of all the songs you learn.
Then aim to play the song at least once per week so you don’t forget it.
I call this “maintenance mode” – it’s a simple but useful tip.
#3 – Chords are tricky, but they won’t be hard forever
One of the main reasons most guitarists quit is because of chords.
They either struggle with playing them cleanly or because of slow changes.
This is something we all go through.
Don emailed me the other day asking for tips on playing the B7 chord.
This is a tricky chord that requires all four fingers.
I hated this chord as a beginner, and it seemed to pop up a lot.
The thing with chords, though, is they get easier.
There are just two problems to contend with.
One is that there’s a bit too much emphasis on learning chords in the early days of playing guitar.
The other is that beginners are rarely taught to master one chord at a time.
I mean, which of these options sounds better…
1 – Learn 5-10 chords and try to play songs that use them
2 – Perfect 1-2 chords this week and play something beautiful with them
For a beginner, I sure as hell know which plan I’d rather have (option #2, of course).
If you feel like you’re struggling with chords, just realise that you will get better at them over time, but don’t spend all your time on them.
Instead, enjoy what you do with the chords, keep working on your technique, and keep having fun.
This all makes learning and improving on guitar more enjoyable.
Hope you have a great Monday!
P.S. For more help with your playing, you may want to check this out below.
It’s my Fingerstyle 101 video course which is on sale this week.
P.P.S. If you have the Fingerstyle 101 book, you may find that the video course is a great companion (as learning via video can be extra powerful as you get to see me cover the lessons visually and in extra detail).
P.P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.